Not long ago, Google, who owns the Android OS that Huawei uses to run its handsets, announced that it will suspend the transfer of software and technical services to Huawei. This move by Google means Huawei can no longer use the Android OS to run its new phones.
The announcement came in the wake of a recent decision by Washington to limit American firms from selling parts and services to some Chinese companies, Huawei included. The new move will require American companies to seek permission from the government before doing business with Huawei. But for now, the US Commerce Department has granted a short reprieve for the company to continue using American technology. This grace period will only last for 90 days.
Despite everything, Huawei seems undeterred and ready to excel in the hostile environment. The company is already working on an operating system – codenamed HongMeng – that is set to replace the Android operating system. Here are the highlights of Huawei’s Android replacement OS:
- According to Richard Yu, Huawei’s consumer business CEO, the new Huawei operating system will be rolled out as early as June this year.
- An international version of the operating system for new Huawei phones will be available by the first or second quarter of 2020.
- Surprisingly, the Huawei Android replacement OS will most likely support Android apps, meaning its customers, who are already familiar with the Android OS, will have a smooth transition to the new Huawei operating system.
Huawei’s Position and Challenges of Switching to the New Operating System
The Chinese technology giant expects this move to the operating system for new Huawei phones to be pretty smooth for all. The company seems to understand that having an OS without app support will be pointless. HongMeng (or whatever name they will give it) users will be able to access Android apps through the Huawei AppGallery . The AppGallery is already built into Huawei devices.
Half of Huawei’s sales come from China. So, it is safe to say that 50 percent of its business is still secure. Within its home market, the government already restricts the use of Google services, which include the Google Play Store. But the Play Store is available for Huawei’s international consumers.
At the moment, Huawei uses the Android operating system for handsets and Microsoft Windows for its tablets and laptops. Huawei’s Richard Yu stated that they prefer to work with their US partners, but if these partners block them from using US-based software, they will switch to their plan B. After all, Huawei appears to be self-reliant. While most storage players rely on Qualcomm chipsets, Huawei manufactures most of its chips, except the Intel chips for servers and PCs.
Having said that, Huawei will not have an easy time switching to the new OS. While the company controls a significant market share at home, it will find it hard to convince the other half of its business to abandon Android, something they have trusted and used for years. These users will be compelled to find other means of accessing their favorite applications.
Some may adopt a wait-and-see attitude. Huawei’s new OS will have to prove that it can run services and offer a user experience that matches that of Google’s Android. Speaking of quality service, it is imperative that you improve the performance of your Android phone. Use a free one-tap boost like Android cleaning tool to improve speed, free up memory, extend battery life, and secure your phone.
We have witnessed companies like Amazon trying such a move before, but the major challenge has been sustaining a steadfast ecosystem. In most cases, the selection of apps is only a fraction of what is offered on the Google Play Store.
Why Would Huawei Want to Roll Out Its OS?
There are a few good reasons why an Android alternative may be fit for Huawei. For starters, Huawei has faced intense political pressure from Washington. The US authorities have accused the tech giant of allowing the Chinese government to use its networking equipment to spy on the rest of the world. However, the company came out strongly denying these allegations. Nonetheless, intelligence experts are still skeptical about Huawei’s assurances.
Huawei is already feeling the repercussions of being banned by the SD Association. The company is also being restricted by the Wi-Fi Alliance. As if this is not enough, ARM was forced to cut ties with the Chinese firm, making it hard for the company to make another phone without the license from ARM. What worries most people is that these hostilities may spill over to other Chinese tech companies.
Even without the US-China trade tension, Huawei might want to experiment with its own technology . For instance, the company may want to manage its costs and streamline its services by depending less on other companies.
Moving Away from American Technology
From the look of things, Huawei seems to have been trying to wean itself off American technology. Besides the development of an alternative OS, the company is already making chips for its handsets. But some of its tablets and laptops still use chips from American tech firms such as Intel.
Recent reports show that Huawei filed several trademarks with the EUIPO (European Union Intellectual Property Office). The filing includes names like Ark, Huawei Ark, Huawei Ark OS, and Ark OS, which could suggest that the new Huawei operating system will be marketed under any of these names. But as usual, there is no guarantee that the Chinese mobile giant will even use these names. The IP filling came less than a week after the Google suspension, which could indicate that Huawei had long been working on its operating system.
The only likely reason Huawei didn’t launch the OS is that it didn’t want to bring a new operating system to the market, which could have ruined its long-standing relationship with Google. But now that things are not working out, Huawei will most likely roll out its OS. But Huawei’s replacement operating system launch will only happen if the company is permanently banned from using Microsoft’s Windows or Google’s Android.
We don’t know yet what kind of features Huawei’s Android replacement OS will have. But who knows, the New Huawei operating system may work with all sorts of devices. The main hint we are getting from Huawei’s top leadership is that everything will be okay and they are ready for the change. But practically speaking, there are tons of obstacles that Huawei has to overcome.
As for now, it remains to be seen how the company will progress without American technology. But things are not that bad yet for the company. The Trump administration has hinted at the possibility of including Huawei in its future trade deals with China.